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  1. #1
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    Maxflex nearly catches fire! I have no idea why ?

    Two days ago I connected my battery pack to my max flex powered 6x samsung xp-g equivalent prototype troutlight lumen librator light and got only low output. I thought it was odd but the whole set up had been bouncing around in a pack before so I figured it may be in programming mode. I tried to enter menu mode and with in about 1 to 2 seconds started seeing smoke work its way out of the light and it smelled awful. I disconnected the battery as quick as I could.

    Maxflex nearly catches fire! I have no idea why ?-2013-03-11_15-21-32_427.jpg

    Sorry for the crummy photo, maybe later it will not smell so awful and I will be willing to bring it inside.

    As you can see from the photo its a red solder masked V2.0
    Several of the components are rather melted even the inductor looks a little deformed.
    Keep in mind this light has been running great for a few years now.
    I have always thought of it as a tank, it just looks feels and runs solidly.

    So next I popped the maxflex off the little shelf it was arctic glued to. I pried it with a large screw driver because it really did not want to come off of there. Made a lound pop when it finally let go and it took a good bit of force. If it were a working component I would be a lot more gentle...

    Now I started going over it with my multimeter. I could not find a short any where on the wiring, found no little bits of aluminum or any thing like that floating around inside, didnt even see any silicone I used to seal it up on the maxflex.

    I thought maybe one of the wires had let go and set up a short but they have I could not find it with my poking and prodding.

    The battery I was using at the time

  2. #2
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    It does look like a mystery ... You'd think with the look of your cover plate, that the damage/cause would be obvious.

    What's the bit of light green on the edge of the housing ?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    What's the bit of light green on the edge of the housing ?
    A switch.

  4. #4
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    Any chance that some damp or condensation has made it into the housing?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetibetty View Post
    Any chance that some damp or condensation has made it into the housing?
    Hmm it is possible but when i powered it on the light had been inside for at least 24 hours and its very dry in my house. This is still be the best theory and if a bunch of condensate got in it would not have an easy way out.

  6. #6
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    I was thinking of a dead short somewhere to begin with but you ruled that out.. Next is just a failed component due to age or perhaps the code went hay wire sending too much current to the light and driver. I have seen lots of electronics, especially in VFD's go like that for no particular reason.

  7. #7
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    With many 1000's of flex drivers shipped - the code doesn't just go hay wire The hardware has brownout detect to prevent it crashing due to noise/glitches on the power. My original test was to use a file and a nail (with croc clips) as a "power switch/interrupter" to simulate noisy power

    I'd say there was a massive short somewhere. Being a boost driver, even a short on the LED output (wires etc) would cause the battery to provide current into a short (since a boost driver inherently has a DC path from input to output).

    A better picture of the board (zoomed in and clear) would at least provide some idea of which component(s) failed and then some conjecture of cause would be possible.

    cheers,
    george.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by georges80 View Post
    With many 1000's of flex drivers shipped - the code doesn't just go hay wire The hardware has brownout detect to prevent it crashing due to noise/glitches on the power. My original test was to use a file and a nail (with croc clips) as a "power switch/interrupter" to simulate noisy power

    I'd say there was a massive short somewhere. Being a boost driver, even a short on the LED output (wires etc) would cause the battery to provide current into a short (since a boost driver inherently has a DC path from input to output).

    A better picture of the board (zoomed in and clear) would at least provide some idea of which component(s) failed and then some conjecture of cause would be possible.

    cheers,
    george.
    I am out of town for a wedding but when I return I will try to get a much better photo.

    I am now pondering if a stray tiny bit of the silicone I used to seal it up would be enough to cause a short causing the meltdown. I tried not to get any on the maxflex but it could have happened. The battery I use can safely and reliably source a 200A burst of current for up to 30sec. That is enough to melt darn near any thing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay View Post
    I am now pondering if a stray tiny bit of the silicone I used to seal it up would be enough to cause a short causing the meltdown.
    Silicone is an excellent insulator, no way it caused the short.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khrystyan27 View Post
    A switch.
    That's what I thought, but was waiting for the OP ... I wonder if it rotated enough for a contact to short against the housing ?

    It's location makes it a possibility, and with the level of carbon on the housing, I'd think anything on the driver board would be very obvious to detect.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    That's what I thought, but was waiting for the OP ... I wonder if it rotated enough for a contact to short against the housing ?

    It's location makes it a possibility, and with the level of carbon on the housing, I'd think anything on the driver board would be very obvious to detect.
    Yes it is a normally open momentary switch harvested from an old computer mouse, the lime green part is a rubber boot.

    But even if the switch shorted against the housing that should not be a problem as the board and housing have no electrical connection and the switch only has a tiny currwnt if any at all.

    My new best guess is a miniscule bit of aluminum was pushed out of one of the threads where the gopro tab bolts on to the bottom plate.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay View Post
    Yes it is a normally open momentary switch harvested from an old computer mouse, the lime green part is a rubber boot.

    But even if the switch shorted against the housing that should not be a problem as the board and housing have no electrical connection and the switch only has a tiny currwnt if any at all.

    My new best guess is a miniscule bit of aluminum was pushed out of one of the threads where the gopro tab bolts on to the bottom plate.
    Seems logical ... It would bug the heck out of me, until I knew for sure.

    Pic wise, I'd say the everything is fine.

    Name that light a "Fire Light" and hopefully never experience this again.

    A WTF moment for sure !!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay View Post
    .....The battery I use can safely and reliably source a 200A burst of current for up to 30sec. That is enough to melt darn near any thing.
    And probably a very good reason to have an inline fuse....

    cheers,
    george.

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